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Greenville Business Magazine

$810 Million Investment Will Create 1,170 Jobs

Dec 06, 2022 11:31AM ● By David Dykes

Envision AESC, a leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, said Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, that it will build a state-of-the-art battery cell gigafactory in Florence County. 

The $810 million investment will create 1,170 jobs and will support the company’s multi-year partnership with the BMW Group, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.  

“South Carolina has been an automotive manufacturing powerhouse for over 30 years, and Envision AESC’s decision to establish operations in Florence County and to create jobs for thousands of South Carolinians shows that we will continue to be one for years to come,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.

As part of the partnership announced in October, AESC will supply technology-leading battery cells to be used in the next generation electric vehicle models produced at the BMW Group’s Plant Spartanburg. 

The advanced battery format will result in 20 percent more energy density than the current generation, reduce charging time and increase range and efficiency for electric vehicles by 30 percent, Commerce officials said.

Aligning with the company’s global commitment to sustainability, the new, 30GWh manufacturing plant will be powered by 100 percent net zero carbon energy, the officials said.

AESC leverages leading net-zero system solutions from across the business, including renewable energy generation, carbon reduction through artificial intelligence of things energy management systems and battery recycling to accelerate carbon neutrality across the entire battery value chain.

The company is also committed to pursuing responsible sources for its critical battery components – cobalt, lithium and nickel – providing full transparency of extraction methods and increasing reliance on recycled materials, which will contribute to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from cell production in the new plant, Commerce officials said.

Said AESC Group CEO Shoichi Matsumoto: “Our partnership with Florence County, South Carolina is part of our next phase battery strategy to power next generation EVs in the U.S.

"This facility is another milestone on our journey to building an electrification network in the U.S. and strengthens our commitment to grow the electrification supply chain while providing high value jobs for the community for years to come."

Located in an 870-acre Technology and Commerce Park in Florence, with proximity to the interstate and Inland Port Dillon, the Florence plant will encompass approximately 1.5 million square feet. 

The new battery plant builds on AESC’s existing United States network that includes a battery manufacturing plant in Tennessee and a plant under construction in Kentucky. 

Collectively, when complete, the plants will provide up to 70GWh capacity nationally and power the United States’ shift to electric vehicles.

The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development, after review and comment by the Joint Bond Review Committee, awarded a $135 million Closing Fund grant to Florence County to assist with costs related to the project, and the state authorized the issuance of up to $70 million in state general economic development bonds to offset the costs of off-site infrastructure and a training center to support the project.

The Coordinating Council also awarded job development credits related to the project.

Commerce officials said those interested in joining AESC should go to readySC’s recruitment website to explore opportunities. Companies interested in becoming a supplier for the company should complete S.C. Commerce’s online interest form.